Unified Communications Featured Article

UC Spurs Life in South African Telecommunication Industry

March 21, 2011

Unified communications or UC market is still at an early growth stage in South Africa. Telecommunications service providers in the country are therefore presented with profitable opportunities and are being provided with an opportunity to offer individual UC components/applications. Fully integrated UC solutions can be also offered by these providers.

There are no industry standards on UC applications and solutions and also a lack of successful case studies. The benefits of UC and its return on investment therefore need to be demonstrated by vendors and system integrators to the customers. The capital expenditure on UC infrastructure and IT spend will be minimized by hosted UC solutions and cloud computing. The bottleneck of service adoption can be therefore overcome with the help of hosted UC solutions and cloud computing.

In 2009, revenues of $60.0 million were earned by vendors in this market. This information is provided by Frost & Sullivan’s new analysis. The analysis “South African Unified Communications Market” also estimates the revenue to reach $409.7 million in 2016.

In a release, Jiaqi Sun, ICT Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan said, "Outsourced contact centre services are driving the adoption of UC. The demand for hosted UC applications will attract SMEs and SOHO users."

The major areas for UC applications are outsourced contact centers where the quality of customer support services can be improved. Telecommunications service providers consider them as a key value-added service. SME and SOHO customers are expected to increase their spending on UC solutions in the near future. Market growth will be therefore driven by hosted UC solutions.

High levels of ICT expertise are required for the implementation and maintenance of UC systems. One of the major challenges to market development is lack of skilled labor. A major bottleneck for UC market growth is the requirement of intensive on-the-job training. Yet another challenge for UC adoption is interoperability of different applications and systems.

In the release, Sun said, "Legacy infrastructure on customers' premises prevents businesses from deploying and integrating advanced and cost-effective UC applications. This is due to the fact that some organizations will not benefit from improved voice and data communications as these businesses are small in scale."

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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